Teenage boy missing 4 years found alive, hidden behind wall near Atlanta

ATLANTA (REUTERS) - A 13-year-old boy who had been reported missing four years ago was discovered alive, hidden behind a fake wall of a home near Atlanta, Georgia, and reunited with his mother early on Saturday, police said.

Five people living in the home in Jonesboro, 28km south of Atlanta, were taken into custody, among them the boy’s father, Gregory Jean, 37, and an adult female, said Sergeant Kevin Hughes of the Clayton County police.

Three juveniles also in the home were facing obstruction charges, Hughes said.

Clayton County police were called to the home on Friday to perform a welfare check on a child, but residents said they had no information about the boy who authorities were seeking, Hughes said.

Several hours later, authorities were called back to the home. As police searched the residence, the boy was able to make phone contact with his mother, who relayed to officers where he was hidden, Hughes said.

The child was apparently able to get to a phone recently and contact his mother to let her know his whereabouts, authorities said.

"They discovered him hidden behind a false wall in the interior portion of the home," he said.

It was unclear how long the boy had been hidden behind the fake wall, or if he was kept there only when visitors were at the house.

Authorities said they would release more details about the case as they became available.

The boy, who appeared to be in good physical health, was reunited with his mother, who had come to Georgia from out of state, Hughes said.

Local media captured video of the boy crying and hugging his mother at the police station after they were reunited.

The teen was reported missing in 2010 while visiting his father in Florida, WSBTV reported.

His father was one of the two adults arrested, the station said.

The boy's mother apparently reported him missing to child welfare authorities but not to police.

It was unclear if those arrested in the home had obtained attorneys.